Actor Omar Sharif has died of a heart attack in his native Egypt. He was 83.
After a successful career in his homeland, Sharif would become an international star in 1962 for his portrayal of Sherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia with Peter O’Toole and directed by the incomparable David Lean. This would earn him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Later in the decade, Sharif would also appear in Dr. Zhivago and in Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand. During the filming of Funny Girl, the Muslim Sharif would become romantically involved with the Jewish Streisand. At the same, the Six-Day War had occurred and Sharif would nearly lose his Egyptian citizenship when a still photo of the two kissing went public.
Sharif remained active in movies and television until he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a couple of years ago.
Last year, shortly after O’Toole’s death, I went to see Lawrence of Arabia at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge with my roomie Christopher Kain. It is one of those movies that must be seen on the big screen. Here is the scene in which Sharif makes his entrance as Sherif Ali. It is something to behold.